“I’ve had this idea, or rather, fragments of ideas for a long time – since 1999, but it wasn’t until I attended the course that I finally knew how to start. I can’t be sure, but I think I made a few stabs here and there, floating ideas pass friends and even penning a few scribbles on paper but just never gained momentum with anything I started.”
Can you tell us the premise of your book(s)?
“Sure. It’s simple. Take the age-old chicken-and-egg causality dilemma and replace the objects with robots and humans, then flesh it out with an actual story. The protagonist, Cora, is a member of an ancient race of sentient robots called the ‘Humani’. She starts out as a candidate for ‘Ascension’ – a physical and mental transformation where a normal humani becomes a Sentinel. Shortly after, her planet comes under heavy attack from an unknown enemy. Cora, together with her close companion, Jaan and a mute ‘Avatar’ (GUNDAM-style robot) find themselves caught behind enemy lines. They must survive and link up with the remaining surviving planetary defense forces and try to repel this enemy. However, what they don’t know is that the enemy they had encountered are only part of the first wave. The second wave, consisting of a single behemoth ship called the ‘Esdraelon’, a planet-killer, was still on its way and may spell the end for all of the planet’s inhabitants.”
What gave you the idea?
“I got the idea just after ‘The Matrix’ (1999) was released. I remember because I was hanging out at a ‘mamak’ (Malaysian slang for Indian street food) stall chatting with friends about the movie. David, who was my friend’s elder brother, had just offloaded the religious undertones onto an already Oh-My-f*ing-God-Can-this-movie-get-any-better mood. Then, he went: “Now, what if robots came before humans?” It was at that moment that the seed was planted.”
What are your goals for your writing?
“Well, first and foremost, I want to share my story with fellow sci-fi aficionados who will appreciate a good (or in the words of one Capt Spartan, “kick-ass”) story. Note that nothing that I have created is truly original – Asimov’s positronic brain, dark-matter energy propulsion, wormholes, blackholes, time-travel, Avatars (AdVanced All-terrain Tactical Assault Robot – ok, I made that one up), robots and humans. However, it is how I have combined these elements that I believe makes for an original story. Having said that, I could be wrong as I don’t know everything out there. It’s a big world, and the sci-fi universe is even bigger! My second goal, is to make a few dollars to help pay off that mortgage and hopefully through all that, put my adopted home town Perth on the map.”
Have you started writing your next book yet? If so, tell us about it.
“I have actually, but just the first page. The second book is actually the prequel to TCCG, and explains how the humani came to be. I’ve got a good idea on the plot, but apart from that, just on the drawing board for now. I can tell you that the title is The Cora Chronicles: Exodus.”
What’s your process for writing? Do you need music or a certain place where you go to write or is it an anytime, anywhere kind of thing?
“Nothing noteworthy to be honest. Having a day job takes up most of my time, so I make the most of however many hours I can get on weeknights and weekends. I tried music a couple of times, I think for a waterfall scene, I listened to Kitaro for the inspiration. But otherwise, just sitting in front of the TV. Now that I’ve had a think about it, I actually wrote a lot while on the couch with the TV on. No particular program, just a bit of noise to distract my consciousness to allow the creativity to flow? I don’t know if that even makes sense!”
Since our website is Talk Nerdy With Us, what’s the nerdiest thing about you?